Day 42: Alternative Fuels

Algae Fuels: The Aquatic Species Program, Bio Willie, Freedom Fuels, Robert Newman’s History of Oil, An Inconvenient Truth

Welcome to Day 42!

Is a person who eats an energy-saving, sustainable, body-cleansing plant-centered diet more likely to understand and support a plant-centered, sustainable, earth-cleansing renewable energy source for vehicles such as vegetable oil?

It is our contention that as we recognize the need fulfilled by a plant-centered diet for the healing of our society at multiple levels, that we will be more highly inclined to seek plant- and sun-based solutions to our external energy problems, such as fueling our automobiles.

As you may know, we drive a Ford F-350 on waste vegetable oil – garbage – that we pick up for free at Asian restaurants. To date we have driven this truck over 65,000 miles on vegetable oil (a distance of 2 times around the earth) with great success and no hiccups. Why are we not doing this on a larger scale? To the right is an interview David did in the summer of 2005, when California gas prices were over $5.00/gallon.

Also check out our Epic raw food/vegetable oil video at right that we filmed in Bakersfield, California. On that trip, we drove 2,300 miles without seeing a gas station or vegetable oil stop, then filled up with free oil and drove back to Arizona for a 3,000 mile trip all on vegetable-based fuels.

Downloads Today

In the download on Vegetable-Based Fuels, you will read about our impending oil crisis, and learn about the most intelligent, resourceful, and immediately applicable short- and long-term solution to our energy needs: growing algae to make vegetable oil using technology and infrastructure all of which is known, and some of which is already in existence, such as our cars and nation-wide gas stations.

The Aquatic Species Program

The U.S. Government ran this program for over 20 years for over $25 million dollars. The program found over 150 varieties of algae that could be grown to harvest for fuel. Algae is smarter for the purpose of growing vegetable oil because unlike corn or soy, algae is harvested every day, 365 days a year, does not require arable land, and can be grown in brackish-salt water.

Enjoy reading this file. This is further exciting evidence that we have more problems than we deserve, and more solutions than we apply. Never again will you be at a loss for what we can do to truly solve our political and geological oil crisis.

Films and Videos

Video: Freedom Fuels

Learn about the history of the diesel engine and vegetable based fuels – technology that is over 100 years old.

Video: Robert Newman’s History of Oil

Also today, an excellent comedic – but accurate – look at the oil industry and its history with comedian Robert Newman. Newman gets to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years – but rather than adhering to the history we were fed at school, the places oil centre stage as the cause of all commotion. This innovative history programme is based around Robert Newman’s stand-up act and supported by resourceful archive sequences and stills with satirical impersonations of historical figures from Mayan priests to Archduke Ferdinand. Quirky details such as a bicycle powered street lamp on the stage brings home the pertinent question of just how we are going to survive when the world’s oil supplies are finally exhausted.

Film: Crude Impact

Click the video at right to watch the entire film .

Film: A Crude Awakening

Documentary: Gasland

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David and Katrina Rainoshek: Epic Vegetable Oil and Wild Grape Harvest with Pegasus, Fueled by Vegetable Oil

David Rainoshek from JuiceFeasting.com being interviewed about his truck that runs on SVO (Straight vegetable oil) and WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil). CBS News.

Theme Music: “On the Road Again” Live with Willie Nelson in Austin, Texas, USA.

Darryl Hannah on Biofuels

Willie Nelson on Biofuels (PBS)

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Today’s Downloads

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vegetable based fuels

By David Rainoshek, M.A.

As you know, we drive a Ford-F-350 Diesel on Straight Waste Vegetable Oil free from Asian Restaurants, and have done so for almost 60,000 miles. This is my huge file on the subject. Lots of information, and a great discussion. See the Biodiesel From Algae file for more on how we can do this large-scale.


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biodiesel from algae

The U.S. Department of Energy (!)

THE AQUATIC SPECIES PROGRAM: You won’t believe this. There are over 150 varieties of algae that could be providing home-grown oil for us year-round, every day of the year – far better than corn or soy that are only harvested once or twice a year. Yet the government has not moved any further. The technology does work. It is far more cost effective than the petroleum industry. Enjoy this one.


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biofuels for transportation

The Worldwatch Institute

An excellent summary on the global and potential implications for sustainable agriculture and energy in the new century, with global data on the progress of biofuels.

As oil prices and environmental concerns have risen in the past few years, investment in new biofuel facilities has mushroomed in Brazil, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. Among the countries that have made major commitments to biofuels in recent years are China, Colombia, India, the Philippines, and Thailand. The Swedish government has vowed to end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels by 2020, with biofuels slated to play a major role. By the Worldwatch Institute.


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By The U.S. Congress (1975)

Petroleum has been an object of war ever since it was put into use.

Scott Nearing wrote a book in 1921 called “Oil and the Germs of War.” He knew. Congress considered this in the 1970s, that you are about to read. We need a home-grown fuel source, which is why I have attached the government study on growing algae for fuel.


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oil and germs of war

By Scott Nearing (1923)

Scott Nearing wrote Oil and the Germs of War in 1923, just a few years after the First World War. Petroleum fuels had played a significant role in warfare for the first time, with the U.S. using a wide variety of gasoline-driven war machines against (and alongside) the largely coal-fired trains and ships of old Europe. It was clear by 1919 that the future of war would be petroleum powered and mechanized. By extension, the outcome of future wars (excepting guerrilla conflicts) would be determined by who controlled the oil rich areas of the world. Scott examines the rush of American and British companies to exert influence over oil rich countries in the post WW1 period, accurately predicting that oil will indeed be one of the germs that lead to WW2.

Scott famously wrote that “war is organized mass murder”. War is destruction, not only of lives but of human labor and natural resources. Scott believed in a world where none would want, where equity for all would be the rule rather than the exception. In a world where creating is valued over destroying, war simply has no place. While the events in Oil and the Germs of War are almost a century old, the theme-who controls the oil has the power-remains up to date. The U.S. is still sparing no expense digging in to the Middle East, home to the worlds largest oil reserves.


Online Articles

Global switch to biofuels could spike food prices and harm the environment by David Gutierrez

A worldwide spike in biofuels production could do more harm than good if managed improperly, according to a report released by UN-Energy, an interagency body of the United Nations devoted to developing plans for sustainable energy systems, particularly in Third World countries. The report, “Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers,” concludes that biofuels can be beneficial if planned well, but that in the absence of good planning they may lead to serious health, environmental and economic consequences.

 The Biofuels Scam, Food Shortages and the Coming Collapse of the Human Population by Mike Adams

It was one of the dumbest “green” ideas ever proposed: Convert millions of acres of cropland into fields for growing ethanol from corn, then burn fossil fuels to harvest the ethanol, expending more energy to extract the fuel than you get from the fuel itself! Meanwhile, sit back and proclaim you’ve achieved a monumental green victory (President Bush, anyone?) all while unleashing a dangerous spike in global food prices that’s causing a ripple effect of food shortages and rationing around the world.

 Understanding the Transition From Seed Corn to Biofuels by Jo Hartley

We are about to witness and experience the greatest sustained rise in grain prices seen in the last 30 years. This rise will include wheat, rice, and maize; these three comprising over 90% of all grains cultivated on the planet. Let’s do some digging to figure out what is causing this sharp increase. The Bush Administration’s “20 in 10” program is at the root of the problem. The plan is to cut US gas consumption by 20% by the year 2010. The official PR (Public Relations) tells us that this will reduce US dependency on foreign oil producers and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both of these claims are false.

 Biofuels worse for the environment than fossil fuels, study warns by David Gutierrez

Far from being a solution to the global ecological crisis induced by fossil fuels, biofuels may “offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to cure,” a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has concluded.”When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel,” the report read.


Great Books

By Bill McKibben

Reissued on the tenth anniversary of its publication, this classic work on our environmental crisis features a new introduction by the author, reviewing both the progress and ground lost in the fight to save the earth.

This impassioned plea for radical and life-renewing change is today still considered a groundbreaking work in environmental studies. McKibben’s argument that the survival of the globe is dependent on a fundamental, philosophical shift in the way we relate to nature is more relevant than ever. McKibben writes of our earth’s environmental cataclysm, addressing such core issues as the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and the depletion of the ozone layer. His new introduction addresses some of the latest environmental issues that have risen during the 1990s. The book also includes an invaluable new appendix of facts and figures that surveys the progress of the environmental movement.

More than simply a handbook for survival or a doomsday catalog of scientific prediction, this classic, soulful lament on Nature is required reading for nature enthusiasts, activists, and concerned citizens alike.


By Kenneth S. Deffeyes

Geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil production would reach its highest level in the early 1970s. Though roundly criticized by oil experts and economists, Hubbert’s prediction came true in 1970.

In this revised and updated edition reflecting the latest information on the world supply of oil, Kenneth Deffeyes uses Hubbert’s methods to find that world oil production will peak in this decade–and there isn’t anything we can do to stop it. While long-term solutions exist in the form of conservation and alternative energy sources, they probably cannot–and almost certainly will not–be enacted in time to evade a short-term catastrophe.


By Richard Heinberg

The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.

In The Party’s Over, Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the United States—the world’s foremost oil consumer—is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a “managed collapse” that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications and recommendations for personal, community, national and global action, Heinberg’s updated book is a riveting wake-up call for human-kind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current US foreign policy.

Richard Heinberg, from Santa Rosa, California, has been writing about energy resources issues and the dynamics of cultural change for many years. A member of the core faculty at New College of California, he is an award-winning author of three previous books. His Museletter was nominated for the Best Alternative Newsletter award by Utne in 1993.


By Andrew Heintzman

The 21st century appears to be dominated by two major global crises: the scarcity of food and the disappearance of fuel. Through shortages and soaring costs, both have had detrimental effects on the environment and both have undermined the global economy — most importantly, both will continue to do so unless immediate action is taken. This timely and provocative collection of essays explores how and why these problems have developed and what can be done to resolve them.

Wide-ranging pieces by trenchant thinkers such as Thomas Homer-Dixon, Gordon Laird, Jeremy Rifkin, Ken Wiwa, Frances Moore Lappé, and Anna Lappé offer valuable strategies to combat global famine and fast-food fat, business models for safe and sustainable food production and power sources, descriptions of emerging technologies and sciences, a reexamination of nuclear power, and much more. Both remarkable for its depth of thought and eminently readable, Food and Fuel provides innovative, practical solutions for dealing with these urgent issues.


By Joshua Tickell

From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank is the first and only book that details all aspects of running diesel engines on vegetable oil. Includes information on biodiesel, the diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable as well as information on running any diesel engine on straight vegetable oil (SVO). This book is packed with history, information, instructions, photos, diagrams and resources. If you want to stop supporting Mid-East Petroleum oil, you must get this book.


By Forest Gregg

“There is a lot of information out there about the pros and cons of biofuels – more cons than pros recently. but still, nothing seems to beat Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO). It’s cheap, carbon-neutral, uses a waste product and does not depend upon centralized corporate infrastructure. And now there is a definitive guide to fueling your diesel engine with this alternative fuel. SVO-Powering Your Vehicle with Straight Vegetable Oil cuts through the masses of often contradictory, erroneous and confusing information on the subject and provides a practical guide. It also, importantly and uniquely, explains what is necessary to convert a diesel engine and how to do it properly. there are facts, figures, charts, grpahs, diagrams, and lots of technical detail but, with all its detail, the book is still very accessible. Gregg knows his stuff; he is a former researcher with Frybrid, a leading developer of veggie oil conversion systems, and has worked as a designer, fabricator and installer of SVO conversion systems.” – Natural Life Magazine


By James Howard Kuntsler

A controversial hit that sparked debate among businessmen, environmentalists, and bloggers, The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler is an eye-opening look at the unprecedented challenges we face in the years ahead, as oil runs out and the global systems built on it are forced to change radically.

“What sets The Long Emergency apart…is its comprehensive sweep—its powerful integration of science, technology, economics, finance, international politics and social change, along with a fascinating attempt to peer into a chaotic future. Kunstler is such a compelling and sometimes eloquent writer that the book is hard to put down.” –American Scientist


Media, Films, & Documentaries

[Enlightainment] | Robert Newman | History of Oil

Robert Newman gets to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years - but rather than adhering to the history we were fed at school, he places oil centre stage as the cause of all the commotion.


[Documentary] | Freedom Fuels

Freedom Fuels takes an in-depth look at renewable fuel sources, such as bio-diesel, ethanol and vegetable oil. It explores the interaction of the petroleum industry and alternative fuels over the last 150 years, and examines the global impact that bio-fuels can have on our future.


[Documentary] | A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack's ground-breaking film on Peak Oil.


[Documentary] Gasland

Gasland is an exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

In 2009, filmmaker Josh Fox learned his home in the Delaware River Basin was on top of the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation containing natural gas that stretches across New York, Pennsylvania and huge stretches of the Northeast. He was offered $100,000 to lease his land for a new method of drilling developed by Halliburton and soon discovered this was only a part of a 34-state drilling campaign, the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history.

Part mystery, part travelogue, and part banjo showdown, Gasland documents Josh's cross-country odyssey to find out if the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - is actually safe. As he interviews people who live on or around current fracking sites, Josh learns of things gone horribly wrong, from illness to hair loss to flammable water, and his inquiries lead him ever deeper into a web of secrets, lies, conspiracy, and contamination - a web that potentially stretches to threaten the New York Watershed.

Unearthing a shocking story about a practice that is understudied and inadequately regulated, Gasland races to find answer about fracking before it's far too late.


[Documentary] The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Cuba turned their whole country around in five years when they were cut off from petroleum products. They went back to old ways of farming so they would survive.


I Am Active

The Amazing Way Bicycles Change You | Anthony Desnick | TEDxZumbroRiver

Tony Desnick, Director for Development and New Projects with Nice Ride Minnesota, makes the case that bikes are saving the world from itself. Bicycles really do change you and, in amazing ways, change the community around you.